Causes of Low Sperm Count

Low sperm count is a condition known as oligospermia and is a common cause of male infertility. While it is still possible to impregnate your partner if you have oligospermia, your chances of success are greatly reduced.

There are many possible causes of oligospermia, some of which cannot be remedied, some can be remedied with medical intervention, and some can be remedied by lifestyle changes.

Physiological Causes

Varicocele is a condition in which a swollen vein inside the scrotum affects sperm production. Varicocele is a common cause of male infertility that can be corrected with minor surgery.

Damaged sperm ducts can result in a low sperm count. Previous injuries, infections or inherited conditions can result in damage to the ducts that carry sperm from the testicles.

If you’ve had a vasectomy reversed, your body may develop anti-sperm antibodies. In this case, your own antibodies will attack your sperm. This condition can also exist after an illness or injury.


Medications like those given for hypertension or infection can cause low sperm production. When the medical history is taken during a visit with an infertility specialist, the types of medications that you are taking or have taken are reviewed to see if any may be the reason for oligospermia.

Anabolic steroids and chemotherapy treatments can also cause a low sperm count. On another side of coin, there are herbal semen enhancement pills on the market that contain special ingredients to boost the ejaculation volume.

Age and Lifestyle

No clear correlation has been proven between a man's age and low sperm quantity; but statistically, men over the age of 39 have an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) rate of slightly over 50 percent as compared to men 39 years or younger whose IVF rate is 60 percent.

Emotional stress can cause oligospermia, but it is temporary and will be reversed when the stress is relieved. Too frequent or seldom sexual activity can also be causes of oligospermia. If you ejaculate more than two or three times a day or if you abstain for more than two weeks, your sperm production can be lower than it normally is.

heat can impact men's healthHeat

Overheating the testicles can be a cause of oligospermia. Saunas and hot tubs may temporarily lower your sperm quantity as can an abnormally hot environment.

The testicles hang outside the body's core to maintain a lower temperature. If the environment is too hot then the testicles will overheat and temporarily cause low sperm count.

Low Semen Levels

Low amounts of semen during ejaculation results in a reduced sperm quantity simply because the volume isn't present. According to the World Health Organization, normal sperm count is 20 million sperm per milliliter (ml). Given a total semen volume of 2 ml, that means a total sperm count for a normal ejaculate would be 40 million sperm.

If the ejaculate is a quantity smaller than 2 ml, the total sperm count in the sample may be lower than normal. A condition that has caused a structural abnormality in the tubes transporting the sperm from the testicles can result in a lower than normal amount of semen to be delivered during ejaculation.

Read more: How to increase penis blood flow?



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